Saturday, 4 August 2012

(Day 15) Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center-day 2

Today, started off okay until I got into a disagreement about the TV. After breakfast, everybody took a nap while I watched the movie by myself. In the middle of the movie, the oldest Asian (fucking ajossis, the worst offenders for demanding respect, but never showing any) suddenly gets up walks over, picks up the remote and starts changing the channel with a total disregard to the fact that I’m sitting right there. It’s like I wasn't even in the room. I freaked out on him-- yelling and swearing. Five guards come running out-- of course, no one speaks English, so I'm just another white crazy foreigner. I demanded to be moved to another cell before I killed the dude, and I was moved. So, now I'm in a different cell with 11 other men. Again, I'm the only white guy. Come Monday, I hope they speed up my case so I can get the fuck out of here. I can only be so patient for so long. And I actually have enough money the country. Most of these people have been here for weeks because they can't afford to pay for a plane ticket out of Korea and they are waiting for friends and relatives to raise enough money. After a few weeks, it’s actually more cost effective for the Korean government aid for the deportation than to keep them locked up here. I wonder how many have been here for a month or longer. Three months locked up would pay for a plane ticket around the world. 20 days locked up cost the same as one plane tickets to almost anywhere in the world. Either way, it’s the taxpayers who ultimately pay the price. As a taxpayer, I’d want the government save as much of my money as they could. Not waste it because of inane rules, principles and policies.

There are ways of enforcing it so people don't take advantage of. After all, you don't want the government to pay for sending every illegal immigrant home either. Maybe work out a policy where the immigrant’s native country gets billed for half the cost. Then they might do more to discourage it amongst their own populations.

I actually got to choose a TV channel to watch. That lasted 30 minutes before another asshole demanded I change the channel.

It turns out this is way more than just a detention center for illegal immigrants, but also a refugee center paid in part by the UN. I just met a Nigerian who has been here over a year trying to get money owed to by some Koreans. He said he’s not leaving the center until he gets his money. I don't blame him. It puts my own bitterness and experiences into perspective— I once met a man with no shoes. I felt bad for him until I met his brother, with no feet...

It’s very easy to feel sorry for yourself and fill your soul with anger and bitterness. I come from one of the richest country in the world and a privileged upbringing. I had opportunities available to me that many people can only dream of and yet I often fall into this trap of self-pity.

When I decided to take this walk about the planet, many people looked at me in disbelief— it’s going to cost you a fortune, what about work? What about your family, how will you survive? The truth is, I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but other people have survived and with a lot less than I have. And I have certain skills that are well suited to this kind of nomad life.

As for my family, Z has had a good family to grow up with. M & G have been there in ways I never could, but I hope my action and life are an inspiration to Z to explore and follow her own dreams. As my sister once said to my mother, (I'm paraphrasing, I wasn't actually there) “David has been in many unusual situation and he survived them all and always come out on top.” I know my sister doesn't agree with my lifestyle choices most of the time, but I’m glad that she had that much confidence in me that no matter what jam I find myself the next, she has more faith in the than I have in myself. I envy her life sometimes— a husband, two kids, a nice home just as the society dictates, but I just couldn't do that myself I've tried a couple of times and failed.

Maybe I’m still searching for my destiny or maybe the search is my destiny. It’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. And part of my journey to discover how does most of the population of our planet live? What can I do to help those less fortunate than myself? My father taught me handyman skills and I work construction so I can build. School and talent talking man in design so I can engineer. Growing up around my father and my own hobbies and interests taught me about computers so I can build one from scratch with spare parts.

Living in Korea taught me how to teach so I can pass on my skill to others. Surely, there will be people and opportunities along my path I can benefit in some way maybe I can provide the child with an opportunity they may never have had otherwise. Part of my journey to discover myself, and see the world with my own eyes instead of on TV or through a book, but a lot of it is to discover how I can contribute to making the world a better place to be a part of humanity instead of just a consumer of.

It comes at a cost to my personal life, especially with Z, but I hope she gets inspiration from it rather than resentment. I can't change the past and if I had known how the last 10 years are going to turn out in disaster I would not have been away from Z for so long. I can’t change that so I must move on and I hope she will read this and understand some day. Shit happens. Put it behind you and look to the future. The honest with yourself, dream big dreams, and never give them up.